by Philip C. Sheward October, 2012
Here in Indiana, there is a common perception that, if a person's driving license is suspended, he or she may still drive on Hoosier roads on a moped. Recently, the Indiana Supreme Court shed some light on this issue, which can be summed up in three words: "Not so fast."
Traditionally, those with a suspended driver's license have felt safe commuting on mopeds because Indiana law has provided a "carve-out," allowing people without a license, or those with a suspended license, to drive a "motorized bicycle," which Indiana law defines as a vehicle that complies the with following requirements:
- A two or three wheeled vehicle that is propelled by an internal combustion engine;
- An engine rating of not more than 2 horsepower;
- A cylinder capacity not exceeding 50 cubic centimeters;
- An automatic transmission; and
- A maximum design speed of not more than 25mph on a flat surface.
We all know that most mopeds actually do travel faster than 25mph. Until recently, though, law enforcement had a difficult time proving that last criteria: the maximum speed for which the moped was designed. This is no longer the case. The Indiana Supreme Court has ruled that if the motorized bicycle is in fact traveling faster than 25mph, that is enough to disqualify the vehicle from the "carve-out".
So if your driver's license is suspended, and you're assuming that it is legal for you to drive a moped, remember, "not so fast," because that perception is now mostly a myth. And more importantly, if you want to be assured that a motorized bicycle is legal, remember, "not so fast," as your vehicle must be one that, in fact, cannot travel at a speed of more than 25mph -- even if the statute talks about the vehicle needing to have a "design speed of not more than 25mph on a flat surface."
We regularly assist persons who have a suspended driver's license or who have been charged with an offense that may result in a suspended driver's license. If you would like your case reviewed by one of our attorneys who practices in this area, please contact us.